In 2017, in partnership with Teach First, we spent a year reviewing the evidence from research and talking to school leaders, professional development providers and thought leaders to understand what high quality professional development providers and provision look like. We even spent time supporting school leaders to procure external professional development on their behalf.
Using everything we learnt about both the theoretical and the practical, we created a framework for assessing the quality of providers that would allow us to verify which ones were suitable to deliver effective training in schools and become a CPDBee partner.
The framework measured the following dimensions:
- Vision and mission
We then reached out to providers, who had been recommended to us, and invited them to list their services with CPDBee.
Each of them had to submit a written application and provide evidence to support their application, including impact measurement tools and internal monitoring reports. We did our own background research using publicly available information, including websites, brochures, impact reports and external evaluations. We also collected references from five senior leaders who had used their services.
Vision and Mission
High quality providers have a compelling vision and passion for their work, clearly identify the educational outcomes they aim to improve and have a well defined approach to improving those outcomes.
They understand and demonstrate the characteristics of effective professional development. More specifically, they understand that professional development should:
- Focus on improving and evaluating specific outcomes
- Be underpinned by robust evidence and expertise
- Involve collaboration and challenge
- Be sustained over time
- Be prioritised by leadership
They apply these principles to their practice and know which principles they need to improve upon and make steps to do so.
They have teams made up of experts. Experts, who have a considerable experience in education, as teachers or leaders, or as providers of professional development. They are highly qualified, have been through rigorous selection processes and are subject to robust internal quality assurance processes.
High quality providers submit themselves to be scrutinised by reputable external organisations to demonstrate, and gain recognition for, their design and delivery capabilities. This allows them to offer accredited courses, which participants can be rewarded for engaging with.
They have clearly defined impact measurement plans, which monitor both the quality of their process and the impact of their delivery. They identify the outcomes they aim to improve, when they will be measured and how they will be measured. Their plans are reflected accurately in their impact measurement surveys, observations, assessments and interviews.
They collect a combination of quantitive and qualitive data from a number of different stakeholders by both self and non self-report methods to triangulate their impact evaluations. They aim to measure impact at a a number of different levels (for e.g. Level 1 – participant satisfaction, level 2 – participant learning, Level 3 – organisational support and change, Level 4 – participant use of new knowledge and skills, Level 5 – student learning outcomes).
They invite and work with independent, external organisations to evaluate the impact of their work and they can demonstrate that their work is having a measurable and positive impact on educational outcomes.
High quality providers can report large and/or growing reach including the number of schools they have worked with, the number of teachers and leaders they have developed and the number of students they estimate to have reached. They can demonstrate their work has led to improvements in educational outcomes, which can be supported by impact measurement data, client testimonials and references.
Their references recommend them highly, go out of their way to explain why they recommend them and are willing to endorse them publicly alongside their name, role and school.
However, not all providers are at the same stage of their journeys. Developing expertise can take time and is refined through experience. Measuring and proving impact is hard, especially when the end goal is improving student outcomes.
So on the surface some providers are ‘better’ than others. They may also have different strengths and areas for improvement.
But taken as a whole, the providers listed on CPDBee demonstrated through the application process, they are high quality.
If you’d like to discuss or help us improve this process, we’d love to hear from you firstname.lastname@example.org